AWS Making All the Right Moves for Further Cloud, AI and Nuclear Data Center Dominance

June 3, 2024
With a graceful CEO transition and continued announcements in the area of nuclear-powered U.S. data centers, Amazon Web Services (AWS) moves deliberately into the industry's megacampus and AI eras.

In the classic 1980's movie "All the Right Moves," a younger Tom Cruise plays an ambitious high school student and burgeoning football star trapped in one of the late 20th century's dying Pennsylvania mill towns, unless his gridiron skills can win him a way out. The film portrays a coming of age drama about big changes driven by competitive acumen, and breaking down old American paradigms related to the nation's legacy industrial base. 

And it's there that the movie's comparison to Amazon Web Services' (AWS) approach to the data center industry probably ends. But for purposes of today's news analysis, it may be enough, especially geographically. Because when it comes to cloud and AI data center dominance, with an already operational side of nuclear energy from within the Keystone State, AWS indeed appears to be making all the right moves.

And that's before even mentioning the company's recent CEO transition.

Matt Garman Steps In for Adam Selipsky

In a company blog post last month, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced that 18-year AWS veteran Matt Garman, SVP of AWS sales, marketing, and global services, would replace Adam Selipsky as CEO. 

As noted by The Verge, Selipsky's run as AWS CEO has been fruitful: 

"Amazon reported that revenue from its cloud unit grew 17 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2024, beating Wall Street expectations, with revenue at $25.04 billion. AWS is also very profitable, accounting for 17 percent of Amazon’s revenue in the most recent quarter and 62 percent of its operating income ... AWS is also a major piece of Amazon’s AI play. Amazon recently wrapped up a $4 billion investment in the AI startup Anthropic, which uses AWS’s proprietary AI chips for training and deploying models."

The Verge's reporting further pointed out how Selipsky has been a key player in Amazon’s announcements related to generative AI, such as deploying Nvidia’s GH200 chips, launching a chat tool dubbed Amazon Q, and rolling out new versions of Amazon’s own Trainium AI chips.

In his remarks on the Amazon blog, the company's CEO Jassy paid tribute to Selipsky's tenure: 

"We were fortunate that Adam agreed to step in and lead AWS, and has deftly led the business, while also developing his leadership team. Adam is now going to move onto his next challenge (after taking a well-deserved respite), and Matt Garman will become CEO of AWS, effective June 3rd."

"I’d like to thank Adam for everything he’s done to lead AWS over the past three years. He took over in the middle of the pandemic, which presented a wide array of leadership and business challenges. Under his direction, the team made the right long-term decision to help customers become more efficient in their spend, even if it meant less short-term revenue for AWS."

As data center industry analysts such as Synergy Research remind us (see chart below), AWS's dominance among the cloud providers is a well-known fact of long standing, as the company has consistently posted double digit growth rates for the last several years.

 

 

 

"Adam leaves AWS in a strong position, having reached a $100 billion annual revenue run rate this past quarter, with YoY revenue accelerating again," concluded Amazon CEO Jassy, adding, "And perhaps most importantly, AWS continues to lead on operational performance, security, reliability, and the overall breadth and depth of our services. I’m deeply appreciative of Adam’s leadership during this time, and for the entire team’s dedication to deliver for customers and the business."

AWS Leadership Update

Wasting no time in securing his mandate, in a May 29 bulletin on the company's website, new AWS CEO Matt Garman shared an update regarding the organization's leadership structure, with changes taking effect on June 3.

 

Garman wrote: 

"Since beginning our Sales, Marketing, and Global Services (SMGS) organization transformation several months ago, we have seen great progress with teams getting even closer to our customers, moving faster, and bringing the right people and resources together to support customer needs ... Two weeks ago, I shared that there would naturally be some additional organizational adjustments that we make as part of our AWS leadership transition. Today, I want to make you aware of the decisions that have been made."

The AWS organizational updates included the following bullet points:

  • Garman said the company will further integrate its global sales organizations under Greg Pearson, bringing together AWS Global Sales, WW Public Sector, the Greater China Region, and Sales Strategy and Operations.
  • Garman announced that Ruba Borno will lead the newly combined organization of the AWS Channels and Alliances team, which helps build better connections between global partners and customers, and the company's WW Specialist Organization, which the bulletin noted "is the glue that connects" AWS service teams to customers. 
  • Garman stated that Uwem Ukpong will continue to lead the AWS Global Services Organization, while expanding his scope by also taking leadership of the company's Sovereign Cloud team led by Max Peterson, and its International Product Management teams, led by Ryan Mackle.
  • Garman added that Kathrin Renz will continue to lead the AWS Industries organization, focusing on bringing industry solutions to customers.

 

Advancing AWS's Pennsylvania Nuclear Data Center Ambitions

Meanwhile, on the ground out in America's expanding data center megacampus heartland, in the crucially inter-related areas of powering and sustainable energy, additional AWS plans of a forward-thinking nature continue apace. 

 

 

This March, Talen Energy Corp. announced the sale of its Cumulus Data Center, located adjacent to the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station nuclear power plant in Salem, Pennsylvania, to AWS for $650 million. 

Now, on the heels of a major zoning victory, AWS plans to build up to 15 data centers on its new campus in Salem Township, the company told local official last week. 

The 1,600-acre AWS site will be supported by the site's nuclear power plant. "We purposely chose this site because of the proximity to the power," an AWS rep told Salem Township supervisors, who approved a rezoning to create a data center overlay zone. 

Local affairs chronicler The Citizen characterized the news as "the first move in [AWS's] plans to turn the region into a cloud-computing hub similar to its main data center hub in Northern Virginia, which opened in 2006."

 

 

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About the Author

Matt Vincent

A B2B technology journalist and editor with more than two decades of experience, Matt Vincent is Editor in Chief of Data Center Frontier.

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